Better Care

Volunteer drivers help community teams beat the freeze


NHS staff caring for Birmingham people in their own homes are beating the snow with the help of a network of volunteer 4x4 vehicle drivers.

Birmingham Community Healthcare has teamed up with West Midlands 4x4 Response to ensure advanced nurse practitioners, community nurses and other health professionals such as physiotherapists and occupational therapists can continue to make essential home visits.

Volunteer 4x4 drivers took healthcare staff to over 40 visits over the weekend and also ferried members of staff to and from work. Managers of Birmingham Community Healthcare’s rapid response service estimate that around half of those cases could have resulted in hospital admission if staff had been unable to reach the patients’ homes.

The volunteers worked around-the-clock to ensure the rapid response team could reach vulnerable patients in need of urgent care or treatment at any time of the day or night.

Emergency planning and business continuity manager Keith Hewitt said:

“Our aim is to provide services that are accessible to all parts of the community and responsive, whatever the needs or circumstances. So keeping people safe and well in their own homes is at the heart of everything we do.

“This fantastic support from West Midlands 4x4 Response has meant that we have been able to provide vital healthcare to our highest priority patients in the safest place for them. It also means we are significantly relieving the pressure on the wider NHS system, particularly acute hospitals, at the most challenging time of the year.”

Simon Brothton, chairman of West Midlands 4x4 Response said: “Hardworking professionals like district nurses are the unsung heroes of a community.

“As a group of volunteers, we take great pride in being able to help these dedicated professionals maintain the vital services they provide."